Here’s How Covid-19 Has Impacted Ad Spends and Brand Marketing

SARAH L. / Marketing

Declared a pandemic by the WHO on March 11, the novel Coronavirus shook the entire world to its roots. Infecting lives and livelihoods and everything in between, the deadly virus brought forth an uncertainty that continues to plague us with no certain sight of end.

As the death toll rises, economies all over the world are crashing, leaving us with no semblance of normalcy in the present and great apprehension for the future. Small to large businesses have taken a critical hit, having to cut down on costs by any means possible, be it equipment, production, or people. When day to day costs of operation have to be thought about carefully, marketing and ad campaigns naturally fall back on the priority list. Ironically, with television and web viewership reaching record highs with more and more people tuning in from home, this can be the best time to imprint your brand name in the minds of a large audience base.

When we finally come out the other side of the pandemic, the dividends might be worth twofold the investment. That is why we’ve compiled a succinct list to help you understand how ad spends and marketing campaigns have been impacted by Covid-19 all over the globe, and how you can still make the most of it.

Out-of-home advertising vs. digital advertising

In response to the high-transmission rate of this virus, countries everywhere opted for a lockdown or other such form of strict restriction. With nearly a third of the world’s population in their homes by July, the gains on conventional advertising have experienced a tremendous setback. As you can imagine, out-of-home advertising has taken the worst hit as restrictions have been imposed on public gatherings and locomotion. It’s not surprising then to see businesses pulling out from investing in billboard advertising, point of sale displays, and transit advertising.

As out-of-home advertising takes the backseat, digital advertising has become the core driver for revenue for businesses everywhere. The forced isolation situation has an increasing number of people hooking to online mediums for engagement. Even television consumption has increased by 50%. With this intel in hand, planning for paid digital marketing campaigns during the Coronavirus outbreak can be a great way to enhance brand presence.

Overall cuts in ad spends

The pandemic has had a direct impact on ad spends as brands investing on paid ads during Covid-19 have depleted drastically. According to a survey conducted by Influencer Marketing Hub, 69% of brands revealed that they expect to decrease their ad spend revenue in 2020. This pivotal decision can be accounted to product-based brands, whose supply and demand chains have suffered a lot due to the lockdown imposed in many countries. But with more than two-thirds of brands holding back from advertising their business and products, there are a few brands that aren’t decreasing their ad spend, and in fact, are looking to increase it.

James McDonald of the World Advertising and Research Center surmises that lockdown is enabling an unprecedented shift of ad spending from offline to online. As people are spending more time inside the home looking at their digital devices, the traffic on live-video streams, video games, and social media has skyrocketed. It is these industries that have upped their advertisement game to make the most of this opportunity. If your brand is associated primarily to the digital realm, the pandemic can prove to be a blessing in disguise.

Decline in revenue generation

It’s not hard to fathom that lockdown has put a huge dent in the demand and supply process of many companies. As their customers’ inability to visit supermarkets and preference for DIY alternatives, businesses are registering record losses in revenue. Going back to the Influencer survey, 65% of the big brands have experienced a significant drop in their revenue.

Although pharmaceuticals, daily essentials, and packaged goods are witnessing a surge in profits, it’s the other way round for luxury goods, apparel, and non-essentials. If you own a brand in this sector, you must already be only too familiar with these facts. When sales are scarce, ads and marketing go out of the question. But this might be the best time to learn the best marketing and advertising tricks of the trade and do it on your own, DIY style. This might turn out to be a great opportunity to bootstrap your brand reach processes, not just once, but for a long time to come.

Lessons from China

Besides Trump, many others blame China for the virus’ outbreak. What started as a common flu symptom in one patient in Wuhan district, has gone on to become a murderous virus that is terrorizing millions today. Besides its current status as the birthplace of Coronavirus, China is the second-largest ad market in the world. It was also the first one to suffer the impact on brand marketing during Covid-19.

After being hit by the Covid-19 crisis, it has bounced back stronger than any other country, leaving a trail of lessons to be learned by businesses around the world. As with the rest of the world, the worst-hit industries in China too is the offline media, while digital media has been the go-to advertising medium for brands. For instance, Cosmo Lady, an underwear and lingerie company in China has enlisted WeChat to increase its sales, and with good effect.

Alternative advertising during the Coronavirus

The Coronavirus crisis has opened our eyes to the truth that we can’t always rely on conventional marketing. With only 14% of marketing campaigns in the UK going as planned, most brands don’t share the same fate. It thus becomes obvious that some changes are in order.

You can then alter your strategy by tracking consumer trends and digging up worthwhile facts about marketing and ad spend. Not forgetting the role of social media, you can create your strategy around Coronavirus related hashtags to increase engagement. Also, empathizing with the situation and inspiring others can raise brand awareness. Directing your efforts on creating an online presence, you can put technology and time to the best use. As you work on PPC campaigns or local SEO, you can ensure that your digital marketing strategies are effective both at present and in the future. Moreover, you can structure the rules for paid marketing during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Unfortunately, we are not anywhere near a breakthrough with the Coronavirus crisis. Even when the pandemic ends, there’s no certainty that things will get back to normal. Although your business may not be immune to the threat put forth by this virus, you can prevent further risks with well thought out planning.